Wednesday, 30 November 2016

McCalmont of Abbeylands


THOMAS McCALMONT, of The Farm, Closeburn Castle-Caron [sic], County Antrim, had issue,
THOMAS, of whom presently;
James, of Susquehanna, Pennsylvania, USA;
John, of Clarkstown, Co Antrim, afterwards of Delaware, USA;
The eldest son,

THOMAS McCALMONT, of The Farm, born ca 1700, drowned near Delaware, USA, leaving (with a daughter, Margaret) an only son,

ROBERT McCALMONT, of Newtownabbey, County Antrim, who married, in 1764, Margaret, daughter of Hugh Mumford, of Drumalis, County Antrim, and had issue,
HUGH, of whom presently;
James, a surgeon.
The eldest son,

HUGH McCALMONT (1765-1838), of Abbeylands, County Antrim, wedded, in 1807, Elizabeth Allen, daughter of Thomas Barklie, of Inver, County Antrim, and had issue,
Robert, of Gatton Park, dsp;
Hugh, of Abbeylands (1809-87);
JAMES, of whom hereafter;
Jane; Margaret Jane; Elizabeth; Roseanna.
Mr McCalmont was succeeded by his youngest son,

JAMES McCALMONT JP (1819-49), of Abbeylands and Breen, County Antrim, who espoused, in 1843, Emily Anne, daughter of James Martin JP DL, of Ross, County Galway, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
James Martin, of Magheramorne, MP.
The elder son,

MAJOR-GENERAL SIR HUGH McCALMONT KCB CVO JP (1845-1924), of Abbeylands, Whiteabbey, County Antrim, MP for North Antrim, 1895-9, married, in 1885, Rose Elizabeth Bingham, daughter of John, 4th Baron Clanmorris, and had issue,


THE 1st Earl Cairns was baptized Hugh McCalmont Cairns.

Abbeylands House, Whiteabbey, County Antrim, was a two-storey Victorian house, somewhat Italianate, with mullioned windows in the centre of its symmetrical front.

It had shallow, curved bows on either side of the front; a single-storey Ionic porch; narrow pedimented attic storey with three narrow windows in the centre; and a balustraded roof parapet.

Abbeylands was burnt to the ground in 1914 by the Suffragette movement.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

1st Earl of Traquair


JAMES STEWART, second son of Sir James Stewart, Black Knight of Lorn, by Joan, Dowager Queen of JAMES I of Scotland, who was created Earl of Buchan in 1469, left a natural son by Margaret, a lady of the family of Murray,

JAMES STEWART (1480-1513), 1st Laird of Traquair, who obtained a charter of legitimacy, 1488-89, and received, by deed of gift, the barony of Traquair, which was confirmed by royal charter, in 1492.

This gentleman wedded Katherine, daughter and sole heiress of Richard Rutherford, of that ilk, with whom he acquired the baronies of Rutherford and Wells, Roxburghshire; and falling at Flodden, in 1513, was succeeded by his son,

WILLIAM STEWART, of Traquair, whose great-grandson,

SIR JOHN STEWART, was elevated to the peerage, in 1628, by the title of Lord Stewart of Traquair; and created, in 1633, Lord Linton and Caberston and EARL OF TRAQUAIR.

His lordship wedded Katherine, daughter of David, 1st Earl of Southesk, by whom he had one son and four daughters.
This nobleman was constituted treasurer-depute of Scotland by CHARLES I; and when that unfortunate prince was subsequently confined in the Isle of Wight, his lordship raised a regiment of horse for His Majesty's service, and marching at its head to the battle of Preston, himself and his son, Lord Linton, fell into the hands of the rebels, and were committed to Warwick Castle, where Lord Traquair remained four years; being at last, however, released, he returned home and suffered extreme poverty.
His lordship died in 1659 and was succeeded by his son,

JOHN (1624-66), 2nd Earl, who married firstly, in 1649, Harriet, second daughter of George, Marquess of Huntly, by whom he had no issue; and secondly, Anne, daughter of George, 2nd Earl of Winton.

Dying in 1666, he was succeeded by his eldest son,

WILLIAM, 3rd Earl, who, dying unmarried in 1741, the honours devolved upon his only surviving brother,

CHARLES, 4th Earl, who espoused Theresa, daughter of Sir Baldwin Conyers Bt, of Great Stoughton, Huntingdonshire; but dying without issue in 1764, the honours devolved upon his brother,

JOHN, 6th Earl. This nobleman wedded Christiana, daughter of Sir Philip Anstruther, and left issue, his only son,

CHARLES (1746-1827), 7th Earl, who married, in 1773, daughter and co-heiress of George Ravenscroft Esq, of Wickham, Lincolnshire; and was succeeded by his only son,

CHARLES (1781-1861), 8th Earl, on whose decease the titles became dormant or extinct. 

TRAQUAIR HOUSE, near Peebles, Selkirkshire,is claimed to be the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland.

While not strictly a castle, it is built in the style of a fortified mansion.

The house has been inhabited for over 900 years and was originally a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland.

In 1491, it was gifted by the Earl of Buchan to his son, James Stewart, who became the 1st Laird of Traquair.

During the 1500s and 1600s the main building was completed and it was during this time that the Lairds of Traquair were at the centre of political power and became associated with Mary Queen of Scots who visited Traquair in 1566.

In the early 1600s the 7th Laird rose to become Chief High Treasurer of Scotland in 1636 and was granted an earldom.

However, in the mid 1600s the family returned to the Catholic faith, thereby forfeiting any further chance of advancement and their later support for the Jacobite cause increase their isolation.

The two wings were added in 1694, and these were the last additions to the house, with the exception of the famous Bear Gates at the top of the main drive, which were built in 1739 only to be closed in 1745, following the visit of Bonnie Prince Charlie when the 5th Earl promised they would never be opened again until the Stuarts returned to the throne.

The Stuarts survived at Traquair until 1875 when Lady Louisa Stuart died unmarried.

The earldom was lost and the house passed to her cousin Henry Constable Maxwell who took the name Maxwell Stuart and it is Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair, who lives with her family in the house today.

First published in January, 2014.  Traquair arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Dromore Castle


The ancient family of WALLER derives from

ALURED DE WALLER, of Newark, Nottinghamshire, who died in 1183, and from whom lineally descended

DAVID DE WALLER, master of the rolls to EDWARD III for thirty years.

This gentleman died childless; but from his only brother,


JOHN WALLER, of Groombridge, Kent, father of

RICHARD WALLER, a gallant participator in the glories of Agincourt, who, in honour of having prisoner the Duke of Orleans in that memorable conflict, obtained, from HENRY V, the addition to his crest, of a shield of the arms of the Duke, pendent from the sinister side of a walnut tree, which his descendants have ever since borne.

The French prince, having been brought to England, was confined at Mr Waller's seat, at Groombridge.

The grandson and direct successor of this gentleman,

JOHN WALLER, of Groombridge, married and his elder son,

WILLIAM WALLER, of Groombridge, High Sheriff of Kent, married, in 1537, Anne Fallemar, of Eastney, near Southampton, and left two sons,
WILLIAM (Sir), his heir;
JOHN, ancestor of WALLER of Allenstown.
Mr Waller died in 1555, and was succeeded by his elder son,

WILLIAM WALLER, of Groomsbridge, who wedded Alice, daughter and co-heir of Sir Walter Hendley, and was father of

SIR WALTER WALLER, Knight, of Groombridge, who espoused Anne, daughter of Philip Choute, and had two sons,
GEORGE, his heir;
Thomas (Sir).
The elder son,

GEORGE WALLER, of Groomsbridge, wedded firstly, Eliza, daughter of Michael Sondes; and secondly, Mary, widow of Sir William Ashenden, and daughter of Richard Hardress, and had a son,

SIR HARDRESS WALLER (1604-66), one of the judges who sat at the trial of CHARLES I, for which he was afterwards tried and banished.

Sir Hardress retired to Ireland, settled at Castletown, County Limerick, and became a mamber of the Irish Parliament.

He married Elizabeth, daughter and co-heir of Sir John Dowdall, Knight, of Kilfinny, County Limerick, and by her (with whom he acquired the Manor of Castletown), and issue,
John, Governor of Fort Limerick;
JAMES, his successor;
Elizabeth; Bridget; Mary; Anne.
Sir Hardress's second son,

JAMES WALLER, of Castletown, Lieutenant-Governor of Kinsale, and MP for that borough, married Dorothy, daughter of Colonel Rondall Clayton, of Moyaloe, County Cork, and had (with four daughters) a son and successor,

JOHN WALLER, of Castletown, MP for Doneraile, Lieutenant-Colonel in the army, described by Swift as "Jack, the grandson of Sir Hardress".

He wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Dickson, of Ballybracken, County Cork, by Elizabeth his wife, heiress of Edward Bolton, of Clonrush, Queen's County, grandson of Sir Edward Bolton, Chief Baron of the Irish Exchequer, and had, with other issue, a son and successor,

JOHN THOMAS WALLER, of Castletown, grandson of the Rev Thomas Waller, who sold Castletown in 1936.

As he had no children, the male representation of the family passed to the descendants of John Waller, a younger son of Bolton Waller.

Castletown Manor, near Pallaskenry, County Limerick, was a large Georgian block, built for John Waller. It was demolished in the 1940s.

DROMORE CASTLE, near Templenoe, County Kerry, looks out over the Kenmare River.

It was built in the 1830s for the Mahony family to a neo-gothic design by Sir Thomas Deane.

It was designed and built for Denis Mahony.

Work began in 1831, although the account books show that only a negligible amount had been carried out before 1834.

Building work was completed in 1839.

The house is in the castellated Gothic-Revival style, with an external finish of Roman cement with limestone dressings.

With the notable exception of the grand south-facing window with its pointed arch, the windows consist of pointed tracery contained within rectangular frames, a style characteristic of Deane's domestic work.

The entrance hall, which is in the form of a long gallery, takes up half of the area of the ground floor.

The west wing of the Castle takes the form of a round tower, with a spiral staircase contained within an attached turret.

Dromore Castle was the ancestral seat of the Mahonys.

When Harold Mahony was killed in a bicycle accident in 1905, he left no heirs, so the castle passed to his sister, Norah Hood.

She in turn left the castle to her cousin, Hardress Waller, and the castle remained in the hands of the Waller family until 1993 when it was offered for sale.

Dromore Castle is now owned by an investment company which is endeavouring to restore the building.

First published in September, 2012.

Knocktarna House


HUGH LYLE, of Coleraine, County Londonderry, an officer in a dragoon regiment said to have come originally from Renfrewshire, married, before 1717, Eleanor, daughter of Hugh Bankhead, of Kilotin, County Londonderry, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
Elizabeth; Martha.
The only son,

HUGH LYLE (1717-), of Coleraine, wedded, in 1749, Eleanor, daughter of Samuel Hyde, of Belfast, son of John Hyde, of Haughton, Cheshire, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
James, of Philadelphia, USA;
Mary; Eleanor.
The eldest son,

HUGH LYLE (1756-1812), of Jackson Hall, Coleraine, espoused Sarah, daughter of Thomas Greg, of Belfast, and had issue,
HUGH, his heir;
Elizabeth; Eleanor; May; Sarah.
The eldest son,

HUGH LYLE, of Knocktarna, County Londonderry, sometime Mayor of Coleraine, married Harriet, daughter of John Cromie, of Cromore, County Londonderry, and left eight sons and five daughters; of these,
Hugh Thomas (1815-34);
JOHN (Rev);
James Acheson, of Portstewart;
Thomas Cromie (1819-54);
George Robert (1821-53);
Edward Augustus (Rev);
Octavius Godfrey;
Anne Frances; Sarah Olivia; Harriet Ellen; Ellen Jane; Frances Louisa.
The eldest surviving son,

THE REV JOHN LYLE (1817-), of Knocktarna, Rector of Kildolla, wedded firstly, in 1851, Elizabeth (died 1852), eldest daughter of the Rev Andrew McCreight, Rector of Belturbet; and secondly, in 1857, Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Major Thomas Scott, of Willsboro, County Londonderry, and had issue,
HUGH THOMAS, his heir;
John Cromie;
Thomas William;
Charles Acheson;
George Herbert;
Kathleen Annette; Florence Emily; Harriette.
The eldest son,

HUGH THOMAS LYLE CBE DSO DL (1858-1942), Lieutenant-Colonel and Brevet Colonel, Royal Welch Fusiliers, wedded, in 1886, Alice Fanny, daughter of Sir Warren Hastings D'Oyly Bt, and had issue,
HUGH D'OYLY (1895-1977);
Kathleen Annie; Phyllis Mary.

KNOCKTARNA HOUSE, Coleraine, County Londonderry, formerly known as Knockantern House, is a two-storey, three-bay rendered house with a basement to the rear.

It was built ca 1830 on the north bank of the River Bann, to the south of Coleraine.

Knocktarna's features are typical of the period, characterised by restrained and plain detailing; a well-preserved example of a typical early-Victorian country house.

Set in large grounds, the fairly austere character of the house is significantly enhanced by a group of well-preserved rubble-stone and red-brick outbuildings, good quality gate-screen, and an unspoiled natural setting with views over the River Bann.

Of local interest, Knocktarna House makes a significant contribution to the architectural character and quality of Coleraine district.

The house featured in a map of 1830, with outbuildings to the rear forming two sides of a stable courtyard.

It was the seat of Hugh Lyle, linen merchant and Mayor of Coleraine and was built in the early nineteenth century.

Knocktarna, comprising twenty-five rooms, continued to pass down through the Lyle family for some years.

It was recorded that a school was established in an outbuilding of the house in 1835, catering for 18 pupils.

The Lyles contributed towards the running of the school and the schoolmistress resided in the house.

Books were supplied by the London Hibernian Society and the Authorised Version of scripture was taught.

At the time of the 1901 census, the occupiers were the elderly Rev John Lyle and his wife who lived with their two daughters, their daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

The household included a substantial staff of six, including a nurse and a groom.

The Rev John Lyle was still at the house, aged 95, in 1911 and completed the census form in his own hand.

His slightly reduced staff included a cook, housemaid, kitchen maid and butler.

At the time of the First General Revaluation in the 1930s the accommodation comprised, on the ground floor: four receptions, two servants’ bedrooms, a servants’ bathroom, servants’ WC and a pantry.

In the basement were the servants’ hall, box room, dairy, wine cellars, store, kitchen, scullery and pantry; and on the first floor, six bedrooms, a dressing room, two servants’ bedrooms, a bathroom and two WCs.

In the 1930s the house was heated by radiators and lighting was supplied by an acetylene gas plant on the premises.

The gardens included a ‘rough’ lawn, 1½ acres of vegetable and fruit garden, ½ acre rough garden and 2 acres of orchard.

There was also a grass tennis court.

In 1948 a single-storey addition was made to the rear and the house was redecorated internally.

The house passed to Fred W Young in 1952, and subsequently became the Vice-Chancellor’s Lodge for the University of Ulster.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Glenmore Lodge


This family, which was originally of Ipswich, Suffolk, derives from

WILLIAM STYLE, of that place, whose son,

JOHN STYLE, obtained an aldermanic gown in London, and wedded Elizabeth, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Guy Wolston, Knight, of London, by whom he had

SIR HUMPHREY STYLE, Knight, of Langley, who was Sheriff of Kent during the reign of HENRY VIII, and one of the esquires of the body to that monarch.

This gentleman espoused Bridget, daughter of Sir Thomas Baldrey, Knight, and had three sons, viz.
OLIVER, of whom presently;
Nicholas, alderman of London.
The second son,

OLIVER STYLE, after serving the office of sheriff of London, purchased the manor of Wateringbury, Kent, and retired there.

He died in 1622 and was succeeded by his only surviving son, 

THOMAS STYLE (1587-1637), of Wateringbury, who was created a baronet in 1627.

Sir Thomas married Elizabeth, only daughter and heiress of Robert Foulkes, of Mountnessing, Essex, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
Elizabeth; Susan; Anne.
Sir Thomas was succeeded by his only son,

SIR THOMAS STYLE, 2nd Baronet (1624-1702), who married firstly, Elizabeth, daughter of Sir William Airmine Bt, of Osgodby, Lincolnshire, and had, with other issue,
OLIVER, succeeded his father;
Elizabeth; Mary; Susan; Anne.
Sir Thomas wedded secondly, Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Twisden Bt, of Bradburne, Kent, one of the judges of the Court of King's Bench, and had, with other issue,
THOMAS, succeeded as 4th Baronet;
Sir Thomas was succeeded by the only surviving son of his first marriage,

SIR OLIVER STYLE, 3rd Baronet (c1670-1703), who died a few months after he inherited, and leaving no issue, the title devolved upon his half-brother,

SIR THOMAS STYLE, 4th Baronet (c1685-1769), who pulled down the ancient mansion of Wateringbury Place, and erected a new seat, where he kept his shrievalty in 1710.

He espoused Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Charles Hotham Bt, and had issue, with two daughters,
CHARLES, his successor;
Robert (Rev);
William, Lieutenant-General.
Sir Thomas was succeeded at his demise by his eldest surviving son,

SIR CHARLES STYLE, 5th Baronet, who married, in 1770, the Hon Isabella Wingfield, daughter of Richard, 1st Viscount Powerscourt, by whom he had Dorothy, wife of John Larking, and a son, his successor at his demise in 1774,

SIR CHARLES STYLE, 6th Baronet (d 1804), who wedded, in 1794, Camilla, eldest daughter of James Whatman, of Vintners, Kent, and had issue,
THOMAS, his successor;
THOMAS CHARLES, 8th Baronet;
Isabella Anne; Mary.
Sir Charles was succeeded by his elder son,

SIR THOMAS STYLE, 7th Baronet (d 1813), an officer in the army; at whose decease, unmarried, in Spain, the title devolved upon his brother,

SIR THOMAS CHARLES STYLE, 8th Baronet (1797-1879), MP, who wedded, in 1822, Isabella, daughter of Sir George Cayley Bt, of Brompton, Yorkshire, and had a daughter, EMMA (1828-34).
The heir apparent is the present holder's only son Shannon Gay Style (b 1969).

The Rev Robert Style, younger brother of the 5th Baronet, was vicar of Wateringbury and rector of Mereworth.

His eldest son,

CHARLES STYLE (1777-1853), of Glenmore, Stranorlar, County Donegal, married, in 1812, Frances, eldest daughter of John Cochrane, of Edenmore, Stranorlar.


SIR THOMAS CHARLES STYLE, 8th Baronet, JP DL, inherited the Glenmore estate in County Donegal. His cousin,

SIR WILLIAM HENRY MARSHAM STYLE JP DL (1826-1904), 9th Baronet, of Glenmore.

It is thought that Sir William Frederick Style, 13th Baronet (born 1945) lives in the USA.

THE LODGE, Glenmore, County Donegal, was a Georgian house, built in the mid to late 18th century.

It was renovated for Sir William Style, in the Neo-Tudor style, in the early 20th century.

The house was demolished in the 1990s.

The Glenmore estate is well-known for its game activities.

First published in November, 2014.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

1st Duke of Roxburghe


This family and the Kerrs, Marquesses of Lothian, descended from two brothers,

RALPH and JOHN, originally of Normandy, who passed from England into Scotland sometime in the 13th century, and laid the foundation of those two illustrious houses - Ralph, that of the Kerrs, Marquesses of Lothian; and John, that of the Kers of Cessford; of which the latter family, the eleventh in descent from the founder,

SIR ROBERT KER (1570-1650), Knight, of Cessford (elder son of William Ker, of Cessford, warden of the Middle Marches, by Janet, daughter of Sir William Douglas, of Drumlanrig), was elevated to the peerage, in 1600, as Lord Roxburghe; and created, in 1616, Lord Ker of Cessford and Cavertoun, and Earl of Roxburghe.

This nobleman accompanied JAMES VI of Scotland into England, and was Lord Privy Seal in the reign of CHARLES I.

His lordship wedded Mary, daughter of Sir William Maitland.

Upon the decease of his younger and only surviving son, Lord Roxburghe obtained, in 1646, a new charter, entailing his honours and estates upon his grandson, the Hon Sir William Drummond; and after him, upon the three sons successively of his granddaughter Jane, Countess of John, 3rd Earl of Wigtown.

The 1st Earl's aforesaid grandson,

THE HON SIR WILLIAM DRUMMOND, succeeding as 2nd Earl of Roxburghe, assumed the surname of KER, and fulfilling the stipulation in the will by marrying his cousin, the Lady Jean Ker, was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT, 3rd Earl, who was one of the privy council of CHARLES II, accompanying The Duke of York from London to Scotland in HMS Gloucester.

His lordship was lost on the coast of Yarmouth, in 1682, leaving issue by his wife, Mary, daughter of John, 1st Marquess of Tweeddale (who survived him and remained a widow 71 years), three sons, of whom the eldest,

ROBERT, succeeded as 4th Earl; at whose decease unmarried in 1696, the honours devolved upon his brother,

JOHN, 5th Earl.

This nobleman having filled the office of Secretary of State in 1704, was installed a Knight of the Garter, and created, in 1707, Viscount Broxmouth, Earl of Kelso, Marquess of Cessford and Bowmont, and DUKE OF ROXBURGHE, with remainder to the heirs who should inherit the earldom of Roxburghe.

His Grace espoused Mary, daughter of Daniel, Earl of Nottingham, and widow of William, Marquess of Halifax; and dying in 1741, was succeeded by his only son,

ROBERT, 2nd Duke, who wedded, in 1739, Essex, eldest daughter of Sir Roger Mostyn Bt; and dying in 1755, was succeeded by his son,

JOHN, 3rd Duke; the celebrated book collector, who was installed a Knight of the Garter and a Knight of the Thistle; but dying unmarried, in 1804, the British honours expired, while the Scottish devolved upon His Grace's kinsman,

WILLIAM, 7th Lord Bellenden, as 4th Duke.

FLOORS CASTLE, near Kelso, Roxburghshire, was built in the 1720s by the architect William Adam for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe, possibly incorporating an earlier tower house

In the 19th century it was embellished with turrets and battlements by William Playfair for the 6th Duke.

Floors has the common 18th-century layout of a main block with two symmetrical service wings.

The 5th Earl of Roxburghe commissioned the Scottish architect William Adam (1689–1748), father of Robert Adam, to design a new mansion incorporating the earlier tower house.

It was built between 1721-26, and comprised a plain block, with towers at each corner.

Pavilions on either side housed stables and kitchens.

Ca 1837, the 6th Duke commissioned the fashionable architect William Playfair to remodel and rebuild the plain Georgian mansion house he had inherited.

The present form of the building is the result of Playfair's work.
In 1903, the 8th Duke married the American heiress May Goelet, who brought with her from her Long Island home a set of Gobelins Manufactory tapestries, that were incorporated into the ballroom in the 1930s, and added to the collection several modern pictures by Walter Sickert and Henri Matisse, among others.
The 10th and present Duke and Duchess undertake the huge responsibility of maintaining and protecting the treasures to ensure that they can be enjoyed by future generations.

In 2010, the installation of a biomass boiler providing a source of renewable heat energy marked the next page in the history of Floors Castle.

First published in January, 2014.  Roxburghe arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Cultra Manor

This branch of the noble house of AILSA left Ayrshire in 1668, and settled in County Down, at Cultra, where they remained.

DR HUGH KENNEDY, of Ballycultra, County Down,

A distinguished medical practitioner in Belfast during the 17th century; physician to the 1st Earl of Donegall, who bequeathed him "£50 sterling a year for four years, to commence within a year of my death".
Dr Kennedy married Mary, daughter of Arthur Upton; and dying ca 1683, left issue,

who wedded Martha, daughter of William Stewart, of Ballylawn, County Donegal, and aunt of Robert, 1st Earl of Londonderry.

Dr Kennedy purchased the estate of Cultra in 1671 from the Earl of Clanbrassil.

He was succeeded by his son,

HUGH KENNEDY, of Cultra, who espoused, in 1741, Mabel, daughter of John Curtis, of Dublin, and had issue,

JOHN, of whom presently;
Mary, m 1774, J Crawford, of Crawfordsburn.
Mr Kennedy was succeeded by his only son, 

JOHN KENNEDY, of Cultra, High Sheriff of County Down, 1769, who wedded Elizabeth, daughter of the Rev Henry Cole (brother of 1st Lord Mount Florence) by Mary his wife, daughter of Sir Arthur Brooke Bt, by whom he had, with other issue,

HUGH, his heir;
Henry, died in India;
John, of Dunbrody, Co Wexford;
Arthur, a colonel in the army.
Mr Kennedy, who, after the death of the 8th Earl of Cassilis, was a claimant for the title, was succeeded by his eldest son, 

HUGH KENNEDY JP (1775-1852), of Cultra, who married firstly, in 1800, Grace Dorothea, only child of Thomas Hughes, and granddaughter of Sir Edward Newenham MP; and by her had issue,

John Hughes, d 1839;
Thomas Henry, d 1864;
Arthur Edward (Sir), GCMG, CB;
William Hugh, Captain RN;
George Augustus;
Elizabeth; Frances; Grace;
Frances Matilda; Emily Jane.
He wedded secondly, in 1824, Sophia, daughter of William John Lowe, by Sophia his wife, daughter of Richard, 4th Viscount Boyne, and had issue by her,

Sophia; Georgina;
Edith; Florence;
Mr Kennedy was succeeded by his eldest son,

ROBERT STEWART KENNEDY (1807-54), of Cultra, 
who married, in 1849, Anne Catherine, only daughter of Edward Michael Ward (grandson of 1st Viscount Bangor), of Bangor Castle, County Down, by his wife, the Lady Matilda Stewart (daughter of Robert, 1st Marquess of Londonderry).

He had issue by his wife,
ROBERT JOHN, his heir;
Edward Henry (1854-57);
Grace Emily (1850-1938), d unmarried.
Mr Kennedy's elder son and heir,

SIR ROBERT JOHN KENNEDY KCMG JP DL, of Cultra (1851-1936),

educated at Harrow; graduated from Oxford, 1874; was attaché at Madrid, 1874-76; Secretary at Constantinople, 1877-79; and Secretary at St Petersburg, 1879-81; Chargé d'Affaires in Bulgaria, 1882-84; Chargé d'Affaires in Roumania, 1886-88; Secretary of Legation to Persia, 1888-93; Knight of Justice, Order of St. John of Jerusalem (K.J.St.J.); HM Ambassador Extraordinary to Uruguay, 1906-12; Knight Commander, Order of St Michael and St George, 1913; lieutenant, Royal North Down Militia; Minister Resident at Cettinjé, Montenegro; Fellow, Royal Geographical Society; Governor, Campbell College.
Sir Robert married, in 1883, the Hon Bertha Jane Ward, daughter of Henry William, 5th Viscount Bangor, and had issue,

Mary Grace Enid, b 1884;
Bertha Catherine Maud, b 1885;
Matilda Kathleen, b 1888;
Lucy Emily Harriette, 1893-1969. 

CULTRA MANOR, Craigavad, County Down, was originally a large, plain house with a central bow and a battlemented parapet.

The front has projecting pedimented ends, joined by a balustraded Ionic parapet; the right hand projecting forth as a porch. 

There is a long, two-storey service wing, joined to the main block by a link.

The present mansion house is first shown on an ordnance survey map of 1919-31 on a previously vacant site.

The coastal areas of Cultra had, by this time, been reasonably heavily developed, and building further inland allowed Sir Robert Kennedy to benefit from a very large landscaped plot on which he could site one of the last substantial mansions to be built in the area.

The Irish Builder of 1902 announced that,
Mr Hunter, Scottish Provident Buildings, Belfast ... is also engaged on quantities for a new manor house on the Cultra Estate of R J Kennedy, Esq, DL, CMG, near Belfast. The approximate cost is £10,000 and tenders will be taken by limited competition only. The design is a fine one, and executed in blackstone with red sandstone dressings, the architectural treatment being a free Ionic. Messrs Graeme, Watt and Tulloch are the architects.
The stone used was local greywacke with Locharbriggs sandstone dressings.

Sir Robert retired in 1912 to Cultra Manor, which he had built in 1902.

The Kennedy family's former residence was Cultra House, which had passed out of their ownership in the 1870s.

Sir Robert's wife Bertha, the Hon Lady Kennedy,  became the
"perfect British Embassy wife" and was "the outstanding Ulster adventuress of the Edwardian age and the first European woman to enter Khorasan and Afghanistan".
At the time the house was described thus:
Fine position on high ground, good views of lough, surrounded by plantations and charming glen with waterfall. Land immediately facing main entrance now planted temporarily with turnips but this is to be sown down to grass for lawn. Plantations laid out with pleasure walks.
Carriage drive metalled with material from quarry adjoining, which being impregnated with sulphur is impervious to weeds and renders upkeep approximately nil. Well appointed house with a minimum of offices. Acetylene gas lighting, own plant. Private water supply with oil engine pump. Septic tank with overflow to river.
Sir Robert and Lady Kennedy died within a few months of each other in 1936, leaving their four daughters to inherit the estate.

After the 2nd World War, the family found the maintenance of the mansion increasingly overwhelming and, ca 1952, a smaller neo-Georgian house was built for them in the (136 acre) grounds.

The manor house and pleasure gardens were sold in 1961 to the Ulster Folk Museum, and a conversion of the building was undertaken by Robert McKinstry in association with Ian Campbell.

This consisted of re-allocating the main rooms as exhibition areas, the servants' quarters as workshops and library and extending the garages for use as an administration block.

The museum opened to visitors in 1964. 


The demesne created for the house of 1902-04, which lies in an elevated position, commands fine views of Belfast Lough.

Hills behind the shelter-belt trees protect the house from the westerly winds.

There are two planted glens running on the east and west side of the house, with walks and bridges.

The lawns to the north of the house descend to a rockery, which is not maintained, neither is the once-famous rose garden.

The site is now landscaped for the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum and the house is presently no longer the centre-piece. 

Kennedy family items, such as the graveyard and the pets' graveyard, have been absorbed into the subsequent development.

However, the Museum has benefited from the mature trees and sweeping carriage drive flanked by flowering shrubs since 136 acres were purchased in 1961.

The gate lodge is dated 1905.

In 2010, ca £3 million was being spent on a complete refurbishment of Cultra Manor, transforming the building into a leading venue for public programming and corporate hire.

Former town residence of Sir R Kennedy ~ 4 Onslow Crescent, London.

First published in February, 2011; revised 2014.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Sir James Matheson Bt


Of the Shiness branch of the Mathesons, so named from their having held that place as a mortgage for several centuries, there are several notices in Sir Robert Gordon’s History of the Earldom of Sutherland, who mentions the family as chief of the name, in 1616.

Of this family was Colonel George Matheson, who accompanied Sir Donald Mackay of Farr, afterwards Lord Reay, into the service of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden, and obtained a grant of the family coat of arms from CHARLES I, in 1639.

In the last century the family was represented by

NIEL MATHESON (1700-75), having had an only son,

DUNCAN MATHESON, who died young, in 1746, from wounds received in a skirmish connected with the rebellion of 1745.

He married Elizabeth Mackay, of Mowdil.
His widow married secondly, Dr Archibald Campbell, with whom she emigrated in 1772 to America, and had a numerous progeny. Her youngest son, George Washington Campbell, was finance minister of the United States in 1813, and in 1818 was appointed ambassador extraordinary to the court of St Petersburg.
Duncan Matheson had an only son,

CAPTAIN DONALD MATHESON (1746-1810), who married Catherine, eldest daughter of the Rev Thomas Mackay, minister of Lairg, by whom he had three sons and six daughters.

His second son,

SIR JAMES NICOLAS SUTHERLAND MATHESON, BARONET (1796-1878), of Achany and the Lews, married, in 1843, Mary Jane, fourth daughter of M H Perceval, of Quebec, without issue, when the baronetcy became extinct.

LEWS CASTLE is located west of the town of Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, Scotland.

It was built ca 1847-57 as a country house for Sir James Matheson, who had bought the whole island for £500,000 (about £54 million today) a few years previously with his fortune from the Chinese Opium trade.

It was designed by the Glasgow architect Charles Wilson.

On Sir James's decease in 1878 the estate fell to his widow, Mary, and subsequently to his nephew Donald and grand-nephew Colonel Duncan Matheson.

For financial reasons the Lewis estate and the Castle were put on the market in 1917.

In 1918, the Lewis estate, including the castle, was bought by industrialist Lord Leverhulme from the Matheson family.

He gifted the castle to the people of Stornoway parish in 1923.
During the 2nd World War the Castle was taken over as accommodation for air and ground crew of 700 Naval Air Squadron, who operated a detachment of six Supermarine Walrus aircraft from a slipway at Cuddy Point in the Grounds. The base was referred to as HMS Mentor.
After the war, the Castle was also used for accommodation for students of Lews Castle College in the 1950s.

Today the building is owned by the local council and is protected as a category A listed building.

Lews Castle was awarded £4.6 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2011, to enable it to be converted into a bilingual museum and cultural centre.

First published in January, 2014.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Lohort Castle

The ancient and illustrious house of PERCEVAL is supposed, by many suggestive circumstances, to take its origin from a younger branch of the sovereign Dukes of Brittany in France; out of which province they were transplanted to Normandy before its conquest, and were invested with the hereditary office of Chief Butlers of that duchy.
GEOFFREY I, Duke of Brittany, had a younger son,

ODO or EUDES, Viscount of Porhoet, at length Duke of Brittany, who a little before the Conquest left issue, by his wife Agnes, among other sons, one named

ROBERT, presumed the same with Robert, Lord of Yvery, the first of his family that settled in England upon the Norman conquest.


DAVID PERCEVAL, Lord of Twickenham, Rolleston, Somerset (lineally descended from Ascelin Gouel de Perceval, who accompanied THE CONQUEROR to England), married Alice, daughter of Thomas Bythemore of Overwere.

He died in 1534, and left issue,
James, dsp 1548;
GEORGE, of whom presently;
The second son,

GEORGE PERCEVAL (1561-1601), Lord of Twickenham, wedded Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Edward Bamfylde, of Poltimore, in Devon; and dying about 1601, left, with a daughter Elizabeth, a son,

RICHARD PERCEVAL (1550-1620). The life of this ultimately successful person was chequered and eventful in no ordinary degree.

He was educated at St Paul's School, then the most celebrated seminary in England, whence he was sent to Lincoln's Inn, to acquire some general idea of the laws, esteemed, in those days, an accomplishment of the highest description.

In both his progress was brilliant, but his conduct dissipated and disorderly, so much so indeed, that he incurred the displeasure of his father, who, upon his marriage with Joan Young, entirely abandoned him, observing, that as he had ruined himself by his riots, he might recover himself by his wits.

Thus unnaturally cast off, Mr Perceval found means, by the credit of his reversionary estates, and the assistance of his friends, to maintain himself several years, during which time he three sons and two daughters: but at length, through a failure of resources, and the increasing expenses of his family, he was obliged to quit the kingdom, and travelled into Spain, where he remained about four years.

Being then informed of his wife's decease, he returned to England, hoping, now that principal cause of his father had been removed, he might again recover his good opinion; but that hope proving delusive.

Having subsequently filled the office of Secretary of the Court of Wards in England, for several years, he was nominated in 1616, Registrar of the Court of Wards in Ireland, where, after obtaining considerable landed property, he died and was succeeded by his son (by his second wife),

SIR PHILIP PERCEVAL (1605-47), Knight, a very distinguished statesman, who, having been actively employed in the government of Ireland for a series of years, obtained grants of forfeited lands there to the extent of 101, 000 acres.

He wedded Catherine, granddaughter of Sir William Usher, Clerk of the Council, and daughter of Arthur Usher by his wife, Judith, daughter of Sir Robert Newcomen, of Moystown, County Longford, and had issue,
JOHN, his heir;
George, father of PHILIP.
Sir Philip was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN PERCEVAL, Knight, was created a baronet in 1661, by patent, containing this remarkable clause that, "the eldest son, or grandson, shall exist a baronet, after the age of 21 years, at the same time with the father or grandfather."

His great-grandson,

THE RT HON SIR JOHN PERCEVAL, who, after becoming a privy counsellor, and sitting for several years in the Irish House of Commons, was elevated to the peerage of that kingdom, by patent, in 1715, as Baron Perceval.

His lordship was advanced to a viscountcy, in 1722, as Viscount Perceval, of County Cork, with the annual fee of twenty marks, payable out of the Exchequer, attached, to support the honour.

In 1732, this nobleman obtained a charter to colonise the province of Georgia, in America, and being nominated president thereof; and was further advanced to the dignity of an earldom, in 1733, as EARL OF EGMONT.

LOHORT CASTLE is near Cecilstown, County Cork.

This historic castle is an impressive five-storey fortified tower with rounded corners, standing over eighty feet tall.

The massive walls are ten feet thick at the base, narrowing to six feet.

Around the top storey there is a machicolated parapet that runs unbroken apart for a short section on the eastern side.

There used to be a deep moat around the castle with a drawbridge.

The castle grounds cover more than one hundred acres.

Lohort Castle was built ca 1496 by Donogh Og McDonagh McCarthy.

The castle was taken by the Irish forces during the civil war.

One of the bloodiest battles of the English civil war took place in the grounds of Lohort Castle in 1647, when over 4,500 men were killed in battle.

Lohort was bombarded by Oliver Cromwell's troops in 1650 and captured, but the castle withstood the cannon fire due to the immense strength of its thick walls.

Lohort Castle Gatehouse

The castle as it now stands was rebuilt ca 1750 by Sir John Perceval, 1st Earl of Egmont, and the Percevals lived there until the 20th century, when it was burnt by the IRA in 1922.

Some of the fireplaces from nearby Kanturk Castle appear to have been relocated to Lohort Castle; this was probably done when Lohort Castle was restored in the 18th century.

Lohort subsequently became the home of Sir Timothy O'Brien Bt, a well-known cricketer.

First published in August, 2012.   Egmont arms courtesy of European Heraldry.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

The Shaw-Stewart Baronets


Among the archives of this ancient family, there are preserved three charters by ROBERT III to SIR JOHN STEWART his son, of the lands of Ardgowan, Blackhall, and Auchindoun, Renfrewshire, dated 1390, 1396, and 1403.

These several lands have lineally descended in an uninterrupted course of male succession, from the said Sir John Stewart, son of ROBERT III, to successive Baronets.

JOHN STEWART, of Blackhall and Ardgowan, obtained from JAMES IV, in 1508, a confirmation of the charters granted by King Robert to his ancestor of the aforesaid lands.

JAMES STEWART, of Ardgowan, obtained a charter from JAMES VI, creating his lands of Ardgowan, Blackhall, and Auchindoun into a barony, 1576.

He married Margaret, daughter of William Wallace, of Johnston, and had issue,

JOHN STEWART, who wedded Margaret, daughter of Archibald Stewart, of Castlemilk, and had issue,

THE RT HON SIR ARCHIBALD STEWART, of Blackhall, MP for Renfrewshire, a person of consummate ability, who being chosen one of the commissioners to parliament for Renfrewshire, in the reign of CHARLES I, distinguished himself so greatly that His Majesty selected him to be one of his Privy Council, and advanced him to the dignity of knighthood.

He was also of the Privy Council to CHARLES II, when in Scotland, 1660, and a privy counsellor in the reigns of CHARLES I and CHARLES II.

Sir Archibald espoused Margaret, daughter of Bryce Blair of that ilk, and had issue,
John, father of ARCHIBALD;
He died in 1658, and was succeeded by his grandson,

ARCHIBALD STEWART (c1635-c1722), of Blackhall, who was created a baronet in 1667.

Sir Archibald married firstly, Anne, daughter of Sir John Crawford, of Kilbirnie, by whom he had three sons and one daughter.

He espoused secondly, Dame Agnes Dalmahoy, who died without issue; and thirdly, Mary, daughter of Sir James Douglas, of Killhead, by whom he had two sons and two daughters.

Sir Archibald was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN STEWART, 2nd Baronet, one of the commissioners for Renfrewshire to the union parliament.

This gentleman wedded Rebecca, daughter of Dr Michael Wallace, by whom he had two sons and four daughters; and was succeeded at his decease by his second and only surviving son,

SIR MICHAEL STEWART (c1712-96), 3rd Baronet, a member of the faculty of advocates, who married Helen, daughter of Sir John Houston of that ilk (by his wife, Margaret Shaw, only daughter of Sir John Shaw, of Greenock, and of Lady (Eleanor) Nicolson, daughter of Sir Thomas Nicolson, of Carnock), and had issue,
JOHN, his successor;
Houston, father of MICHAEL, 5th Baronet;
Margaret; Eleanora.
Sir Michael was succeeded by his eldest son,

SIR JOHN SHAW-STEWART (c1740-1812), 4th Baronet, MP for Renfrewshire, who wedded, in 1786, Eleanor, relict of Sir John Maxwell Bt, of Pollock; but dying without issue, was succeeded by his nephew,

SIR MICHAEL SHAW-STEWART (1766-1825), 5th Baronet, who married and was succeeded by his son,

SIR MICHAEL SHAW-STEWART (1788-1836), 6th Baronet, MP for Lanarkshire, and subsequently for Renfrewshire, who married twice and was succeeded by his son,


ARDGOWAN HOUSE, near Inverkip, Renfrewshire, has been the seat of the Shaw-Stewart Baronets for over six centuries.

The house is set in the middle of 400 acres of parkland on the south shores of the Firth of Clyde and is home to Lucinda, Lady Shaw-Stewart and her son Sir Ludovic, 12th Baronet.
In 2004, a newspaper reported that the 11th Baronet had bequeathed his £18 million estate to Lady Shaw-Stewart.
The lands of Ardgowan were given to John Stewart by his natural father ROBERT III of Scotland in 1403.

ROBERT III was Robert the Bruce’s great-grandson and the estate has been passed down from father to son or uncle to nephew to the present day.

There was a castle at Ardgowan in the 11th Century but the present one dates from the 15th Century.

Its predecessor was much fought round in the Wars of Independence, and Robert the Bruce was present at battles here in 1303 and 1314.

Helenor Houston was Sir John Shaw’s granddaughter and her marriage to Sir Michael Stewart in 1736 greatly enriched the family and led to the building of Ardgowan House.

The name Shaw-Stewart was born and the estate increased in size as they inherited the western half of Greenock.

Ardgowan House was built between 1798 and 1801 by Sir John Shaw Stewart, 4th Baronet.

The house was designed by Hugh Cairncross, who was Robert Adam’s assistant when he designed and built Culzean Castle in Ayrshire.

The completed interior was furnished by the firm of Gillows of Lancaster and the walls were hung with paintings collected on successive Grand Tours.

To these were added a series of family portraits by Sir Henry Raeburn in 1816 and the portrait of Emperor Napoleon by Lefevre which hangs on the main staircase.

This was given to Sir Michael, 6th Baronet, by Napoleon’s mother Madame Mere, whom he had met in Elba.

Sir Michael also brought back to Ardgowan the hat which had been worn by Napoleon during the campaign of 1807.

Later generations altered the house.

William Burn was commissioned to alter the interior, especially the entrance and the staircase in 1835, returning to work here again in 1852.

The chapel, designed by Henderson, was added in 1854; and, in 1904, Sir Robert Lorimer restored the house and added the conservatory.

Ardgowan was used as a military hospital during the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

Over the years farming and forestry have been the traditional enterprises of the estate. However as times have changed the family has diversified into other businesses.

Lady Shaw-Stewart has developed Ardgowan Antiques, corporate entertaining and residential study tours in Ardgowan House.

The home farm at Bankfoot has been developed as Ardgowan Livery offering horse livery services.

First published in January, 2014.

The School Report

Several years ago I stumbled upon a large brown envelope, full of miscellaneous documents relating to Brackenber House School; and containing my personal Report Book.

This booklet is red in colour.

The first page states: To be returned to the Headmaster at the beginning of each term.

Eager to see my last Report from the Summer Term in 1973, when I was thirteen years old?

I was in Form V and the average number of pupils in the Form was 15.

LATIN: "Good progress" (Mr Maguire)

FRENCH: "Good" (Mr McQuoid)

ENGLISH: "His English has improved considerably" (Mr McQuoid)

SCRIPTURE: "Good progress" (TP)

HISTORY: "Not very good" (Mr Craig)

GEOGRAPHY: "Steady improvement" (Mr Maguire)

MATHEMATICS: "He has worked very well this term" (Mr Magowan?)

ALGEBRA/GEOMETRY "Has improved but still gaps in his knowledge of elementary ***

DRAWING: "Some good work" (Mr Cross?)

SCIENCE: "Satisfactory" (Mrs Dunlop)

GENERAL REPORT: "He has made satisfactory progress generally... he did well to pass the Common Entrance considering the great handicap [late starter] he had. He has had a good career here & we wish him well at Campbell" (Mr Craig)

CONDUCT: "Excellent" (Mr Craig)

GAMES: "He made good progress in his game of cricket & proved a fine runner"

Doubtless some of them were being charitable to me.

I was awful at Maths, geography and history.

As Mr Craig, said, though, I was a very good sprinter and promising athlete.

Those were the days!

First published in November, 2009.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Castle Crine


This family is said to descend from the noble house of BUTLER, Viscounts Mountgarret.

WILLIAM BUTLER, of Rossroe Castle, County Clare, serving as High Sheriff of that county in 1712, left a daughter, Anne, wife of St John Bridgeman (of Woodfield), and two sons, viz.
HENRY, of Rossroe Castle;
THOMAS, of Castle Crine.
The second son,

THOMAS BUTLER, of Castle Crine, was father of 

WILLIAM BUTLER, of Castle Crine, who succeeded to the landed property of his cousin, Henry Butler, of O’Brien’s Castle, in 1791.

He wedded Anne D'Alton and had issue, a son,

JAMES BUTLER, of Castle Crine, who espoused Mary, daughter of Robert Ievers, of Mount Ievers, County Clare; and dying ca 1821, leaving issue.

The eldest son,

HENRY BUTLER JP DL, of Castle Crine, married Anna, daughter of Charles Dawson, of Charlesfort, County Wexford, and died in 1852 (buried at Bunratty), leaving,
JAMES, his heir;
Charles Eyre, 69th Regiment;
Henry, 90th Regiment;
William Dawson;
The eldest son,

JAMES BUTLER JP DL, of Castle Crine, wedded, in 1852, Sophia, daughter of Major Irvine, and by her (who married secondly, Major Graham), he left at his decease, in 1857, three daughters, of Castle Crine, his co-heiresses,
The second daughter,

Sophia Mary Butler, married the 5th Lord Clarina, though had no male issue, and on the marriage of her eldest daughter, the Hon Sophia (Zoë) Butler-Massey to the Hon Eric Henderson, the Castle Crine estate was settled upon her, subject to the life interests of her mother and aunts.

On the death, in 1938, of Miss Anna Frances Butler, the last survivor, Mrs Butler-Henderson (who with her husband assumed the surname of BUTLER in addition to that of HENDERSON) succeeded to Castle Crine estate.

Her daughter, Mrs Wordsworth, resided there until 1951, when the estate was sold. 

CASTLE CRINE, near Sixmilebridge, County Clare, was a castellated late-Georgian house, comprising a two-storey block with two curved bows beside each other at one end; one with pointed Gothic windows and a three-storey tower.

Little battlements; corbelled turret on tower.

Castle Crine was demolished in 1955.

First published in November, 2012.